Book Clubbin’: 8 Discussion Questions for ‘Anxious People’ by Fredrik Backman

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’! With school and work routines slowly kicking back into action, many people are trying to find ways to keep entertained. Whether you’re back to your daily commute or simply walking to and from your WFH set up, it’s a great time to reach out to your book-loving pals and invite them to join a virtual or socially distanced book club!

Audiobooks are the perfect option for people who want to enjoy books on the go. By setting up a book club, you’ll be able to share your love for audiobooks with old and new friends alike. If you’re interested in starting a book club but don’t know where to start, check out this list of the best audiobooks for your book club!

This month’s Book Clubbin’ pick is Fredrik Backman‘s Anxious People, narrated by Marin Ireland. As a bestselling author, Backman has become known for writing stories that deliver meaningful messages with perfectly interjected comedic relief. Following suit with his previous works, Anxious People is a poignant comedy that slowly reveals the hardships of the modern world. Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

Filled with Fredrik Backman’s impeccable character development and undeniable wit, Anxious People’s whimsical plot serves up unforgettable insights into the human condition and a gentle reminder to be compassionate to all the anxious people we encounter every day.

If you’re ready to start discussing Anxious People with your book club, get started with the questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Do you feel as though each character was already anxious when walking into the open house? What were they anxious about?

2) This story explores the many relationships of its characters, both in and outside of the open house. How do some of these relationships contribute to, or help to ease, the anxiety felt within the hostage situation?

3) Fredrik Backman‘s stories are known to be driven by their character development. Which character in this book did you most identify with? Did your opinion of them change throughout the story? Discuss the different themes and additions this character brought into the novel.

4) Multiple characters have memories that connect back to the bridge. What symbolic meaning does the bridge hold? Do you think the meaning of the bridge changed for the characters by the end of the book?

5) Though Anxious People can be considered a comedy, the novel touches on some difficult parts of the human experience and the issues we often face. Discuss the societal issues that resonated with you, and how the characters managed those situations.

6) Each character has a unique approach to vulnerability and how they open up about their personal anxieties. Who do you think was the most reserved character? The most open? Why do you think these people had different approaches?

7) Near the beginning of the story, Backman wrote “This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots.” How do you define idiocy, and how do characters in this book fit with or go against your definition?

8) If Anxious People were to be made into a television series or film, who would you picture playing some of the characters? Is there anything you’d change about the book to fit better within a video form?

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